In re R.T., 2015 WL 1259666 (Fla. 2d DCA)

Mother petitioned the court for a writ of certiorari seeking to quash the trial court’s order requiring her three teenage sons to undergo therapeutic assessments in connection with the denial of Mother’s motion to amend a safety plan prohibiting Mother’s husband, S.K., from having contact with her sons. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second […]

In re YV., 2015 WL 1578561 (Fla. 1st DCA)

This appeal follows dismissal of a private petition for dependency on behalf of a minor child who illegally emigrated alone from Honduras to the United States. Y.V. was abused and abandoned by his parents in Honduras. He crossed the Mexico-United States border alone, was picked up by “authorities,” who contacted his uncle in Florida. Uncle […]

Update – GAL Legislative Budget June 15,2015

Guardian ad Litem Team, The House and Senate are close to agreement on a General Appropriations Act and hope to pass a final budget no later than June 19. Based on the decisions made to date (and these are not likely to change at this point), the Guardian ad Litem budget will remain at its […]

Department of Children and Families v. T.S., 154 So.3d 1223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)

The trial court dismissed a petition for dependency sua sponte at a fourth continued arraignment hearing over the objection of the Department of Children and Families (Department). The matter had been continued three times because the Department was unable to locate either parent, and the child absconded from shelter placement. A pick-up order was outstanding […]

J.A.I. v. B.R., 2015 WL 404001 (Fla. 2d DCA)

J.A.I. and J.K.C. filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a trial court order requiring them and J.A.I.’s daughter to submit to genetic testing for the purpose of determining paternity. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) granted the writ finding that B.R. was precluded from challenging paternity. J.A.I. and J.K.C. […]

State v. T.S., 155 So.3d 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

The trial court found that the Department of Children and Families (Department) met the statutory factors for termination of parental rights and established that termination was in the best interests of the child but denied termination, finding it was not the least restrictive means to protect the child. The Department appealed the findings related to […]

Governor Rick Scott Signs Regis Little Act to Protect Children

Tallahassee, Florida] -  Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Regis Little Act to Protect Children with Special Needs, which ensures vulnerable foster youth have a guardian in place at age 18. In 2008, Regis Little was a child of Florida’s foster care system.  With an IQ of 65, he was bipolar, hyperactive, […]


JUDGE GLADSTONE RECEIVES THE PRESTIGIOUS CHILES ADVOCACY AWARD (Video)  Judge Gladstone’s 40-year career on the bench and his work as a vocal advocate on behalf of dependent children and families in Florida was honored when he received the Chiles Advocacy Award at this year’s Children’s Week in Tallahassee Florida.  The award is given to a […]

Guardians for Foster Children

A bill that would provide guardians for foster children who are severely disabled and turning 18 is moving in both houses of the Florida Legislature. The Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs unanimously passed the bill by Senator Nancy Detert (DEE-turt) on Thursday. The bill aims to identify Floridians who don’t have the […]

Call for Proposals 2015 GAL Disabilities Training Conference

  The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) invites you to submit a proposal to present at the 2015 Disabilities Training Conference: Imagining the Future to be held May 21 -22, 2015 at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes Orlando.  This conference will bring together attorneys ad litem, attorneys and non-attorneys from government agencies and as […]

Visit the Statewide GAL Office’s New and Improved Website

Our website has been redesigned to better serve Florida’s child welfare advocates!  On it you will find how to get involved with the GAL Program, training, resources, local program and non-profit information, the  latest news and case summaries – including the Legal Briefs Newsletter.  Visit 

The Akerman Law Firm is the recipient of the 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award

The 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award is presented by the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar recognizing Akerman for their contribution in the provision of bro bono legal services to individuals or groups that cannot otherwise afford the services.  This award recognizes the extraordinary commitment on the part of Akerman in providing access […]

R.L. v. W.G., 147 So.3d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

The Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed an order denying the former foster parents’ motion to intervene in termination proceedings. The Department petitioned to terminate the Mother’s parental rights. While Mother’s rights were still intact, Mother chose to have her cousin (W.G.) adopt her child. The court found W.G. to be qualified and ordered the child […]

H.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3805524 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Mother appealed an order denying her motion to reopen the dependency case to modify the trial court’s order placing the children in permanent guardianship with their paternal grandparents. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed denial finding that the parent has the burden of proving that the children’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental and emotional […]

In re: The Adoption of K.A.G., 2014 WL 7331269 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Paternal grandmother and Father appeal the trial court’s judgment dismissing Grandmother’s petition to adopt K.A.G. Father was charged with killing his child’s mother and was incarcerated awaiting trial. The Department of Children and Families (department) began dependency proceedings, placed the child with his aunt and petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. Concurrently, Grandmother petitioned the […]

C.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 148 So.3d 833 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

Father appealed part of the trial court’s dispositional order requiring him to participate in anger management. The Department conceded error in that the evidence presented to the trial court failed to demonstrate a need for such counseling. Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.410(b)(4) provides that the case plan be “meaningful and designed to address the […]

V.C.B. v. Shakir, 145 So.3d 967 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Maternal grandparents appealed the denial of their petition to terminate Father’s rights and adopt their grandchild. The trial court found that Father abandoned the child both financially and emotionally but that Father did not willfully disregard the minor child’s safety. The trial court held that such a finding was necessary to terminate parental rights pursuant […]

E.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 616 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Mother appealed the dependency adjudication of her child, asserting the trial court’s order was not supported by competent substantial evidence. The Fourth DCA affirmed the trial court’s adjudication order. Mother had a history of mental illness and domestic violence with father. Four years prior, mother had another child removed following allegations that mother said she […]

E.R. v. Department of Children and Families, 143 So. 3rd 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed the trial court’s order adjudicating Mother and Father’s children dependent. Specifically, the Fourth DCA (in E.R.) held that the trial court’s finding that Mother “placed both the minor children at imminent risk of neglect and harm” was not supported by “competent, substantial evidence.” The underlying case was […]

R.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 631 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Department of Children and Families (department) confessed error and the Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) reversed the termination of parental rights. Although the trial court’s written final judgment found abandonment as the basis for terminating Father’s parental rights, the trial court orally pronounced, “I won’t […]

In re A.W.J., 143 So. 3d 1109 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014)

Both Mother and Father separately appealed an order adjudicating their child dependent based on physical abuse. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the adjudication order. Father testified that he placed his 6 month old child in a Bumbo chair and went in the kitchen. Mother was not at home. While Father was […]

J.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 4976981 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights claiming she was denied effective assistance of counsel. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) affirmed termination but addressed the current standard for determining ineffective assistance of counsel and the procedure for raising an ineffective claim. The First DCA certified both questions. Mother asserted a number of […]